Is Your Cat Getting More and More Chubby?

This is Raja, our overweight cat!

Raja started out a reasonably svelte 12 lbs when we got her from a local shelter at age 7. Then, barely 2 years later, she was up to a hefty 15 lbs!

Diet cat foods were no help. Then, I happened to read a book: "Your Cat, Simple New Secrets To A Longer, Stronger Life" and it changed everything.

We invite you to follow our quest for a healthy weight-loss plan for this funny, personable and very talkative cat.

Hopefully, together we can help all our cats live healthier and thinner lives!

*Disclosure: I am compensated for sales from this site. Click for details.

2008-02-21

Low Carbohydrate Dry Cat Food Does Exist! BUT Is It Right For Your Cat?

Innova Evo and Wellness Core dry cat foods - OK for your cat?

As promised in my last post, I've discovered a few high-quality dry cat foods with relatively low carbohydrates that you can feed your cat if necessary.

I say "if necessary" because currently there are only two dry cat foods that don't have some form of bad carbohydrate in them. By bad I mean a carb with a high-glycemic index.

The Hidden Dangers of High-Glycemic Index Ingredients

The problem with high-glycemic index carbohydrates like corn and potatoes is the unhealthy rise in blood sugar they can cause. This increases the risk of obesity and diabetes.

To further explain, here is an excerpt from the book: Your Cat: Simple New Secrets to a Longer, Stronger Life by Elizabeth M. Hodgkins, D.V.M., that lays out the problem in detail:

"One dry food on the market has only 7 percent carbohydrate, according to the manufacturer. Chemical analysis of this food shows that it's carbohydrate level is actually about 13 percent."

"Although I had hoped that this product would be a satisfactory dry food option for my patients and my own cats, it has proved very disappointing in tests I have conducted. This food can promote obesity in spayed and neutered adult cats, just as its much higher carbohydrate dry food rivals do, and it cannot be used by diabetics. Feeding this food to a diabetic in remission causes a lapse out of remission." (emphasis mine)

"This food uses potato as its starch component for extrusion; apparently potato, with its simple sugar content and high glycemic index (corresponding rise in blood sugar), still causes the adverse effects in the cat that higher levels of less sugary carbohydrate ingredients do. Other "no cereal" dry foods containing novel starches like tapioca are in development. These foods will also fall far short of ideal foods for cats."

OK, that's the expert's take on dry foods. So, I leave it to you to decide if your cat should eat them. Considering that the average dry food, even "Science" blended dry foods, are over 30 percent carbohydrates with some exceeding 40 percent, these lower carb dry foods are definitely an improvement.

So, I figure in a pinch you can try feeding the best of them to your non-diabetic cat. When I say "in a pinch" I'm referring to times when you can't be there to feed wet food or if someone is watching your cat(s), but can't be there two or more times a day to do a canned food feeding.

The Three Dry Cat Foods That Are Lowest In Carbs:

Dry Food (1) - Innova Evo Turkey & Chicken Formula for Cats & Kittens.

The manufacturer describes the contents of Innova Evo Turkey & Chicken Formula as follows:
  • EVO has Hi-Protein, Low-Carbs, No Grains and NO high-glycemic-index potatoes or potato starch.
  • EVO Cat and Kitten has the HIGHEST PERCENTAGE of poultry and dairy ingredients of any grain-free dry cat food!
  • EVO Cat and Kitten contains 50% PROTEIN, 22% FAT, and only 7% CARBOHYDRATES, one of the lowest in the industry!
  • This quality food includes whole, raw fruits and vegetables which contain health promoting phytochemicals and micronutrients.

Here are the main ingredients for Innova Evo Turkey & Chicken Formula for Cats & Kittens:

Chicken Meal, Chicken, Herring Meal, Chicken Fat (Preserved with Mixed Tocopherols, a Natural Source of Vitamin E), Peas, Eggs, Turkey Meal, Pea Fiber, Natural Flavors, Apples, Carrots, Cranberries, Herring Oil, Tomatoes, Pumpkin, Dried Chicory Root, Cottage Cheese, Alfalfa Sprouts, Taurine, DL-Methionine, Minerals (Zinc Proteinate, Iron Proteinate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Calcium Iodate), Vitamins (Vitamin E Supplement, Betaine Hydrochloride, Niacin Supplement, Vitamin A Supplement, Calcium Pantothenate, Thiamine Mononitrate, Riboflavin Supplement, Beta Carotene, Vitamin B12 Supplement, Vitamin D3 Supplement, Biotin, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, Folic Acid), Direct Fed Microbials (Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product)

Guaranteed Analysis and computed carbohydrates for Innova Evo Turkey & Chicken Formula:

Innova Evo Turkey & ChickenProtein %Fat %Fiber %Moisture %Ash %Total Guaranteed Analysis %Calculated Carbs %Actual Carbs (dry matter basis)
5022210*9.493.46.6** 7%

* Estimated ash percent. (Ash content not provided by manufacturer.)
** As stated on the packaging

Dry Food (2) - Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original for Adult Cats & Kittens. This dry food contains about 12% carbohydrates because it unfortunately uses the high-glycemic index carbohydrate: potatoes, in its formula.

Here's what the manufacturer says about Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original:
  • Protein-Rich; No grains; Gluten-free
  • Lower carbs. Only 12% of the calories coming from carbs.
  • Incredible palatability

Here are the main ingredients for Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original:

Deboned Turkey, Deboned Chicken, Chicken Meal, Whitefish Meal, Herring Meal, Peas, Turkey Meal, Potatoes, Chicken Fat (preserved with Mixed Tocopherols), Tomato Pomace, Natural Chicken Flavor, Ground Flaxseed, Cranberries, Chicory Root Extract, Choline Chloride, Salmon Oil, Vitamins [Vitamin E Supplement, Niacin, Beta-Carotene, Vitamin A Supplement, Thiamine Mononitrate, Pyridoxine Hydrochloride, d-Calcium Pantothenate, Riboflavin, Vitamin D-3 Supplement, Vitamin B-12 Supplement, Folic Acid, Biotin, Ascorbic Acid (Vitamin C)],Minerals [Zinc Proteinate, Zinc Sulfate, Iron Proteinate, Ferrous Sulfate, Copper Sulfate, Copper Proteinate, Manganese Proteinate, Manganese Sulfate, Sodium Selenite, Calcium Iodate], Taurine, Mixed Tocopherols added to preserve freshness, Dried Kelp, Yucca Schidigera Extract, Dried Lactobacillus plantarum Fermentation Product, Dried Enterococcus faecium Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus casei Fermentation Product, Dried Lactobacillus acidophilus Fermentation Product, Rosemary Extract.

This is a naturally preserved product.

Guaranteed Analysis and computed carbohydrates for Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original:

Wellness CORE Grain-Free OriginalProtein %Fat %Fiber %Moisture %Ash %Total Guaranteed Analysis %Calculated Carbs %Actual Carbs (dry matter basis)
4518311*118812** 17.6%

* Estimated ash content. (Ash content not provided by manufacturer.)
** As you can see, Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original formula contains potatoes and claims a 12% carbohydrate content, which is more like 17.6% NFE.

NOTE: The carbohydrates for this determination are called the NFE, or Nitrogen Free Extract. Nitrogen Free Extract is basically what remains after the moisture, protein, fat, fiber, and minerals (ash) have been removed from the food. NFE = 100% - % moisture - % crude protein - % crude fat - % crude fiber - % ash.

WARNING: Stay away from the regular Wellness dry food formulas. At this time only the Wellness CORE Grain-Free Original formula is low in carbohydrates. In fact, the other Wellness dry cat food formulas are around 40% carbohydrates, so be sure to avoid them!

Dry Food (3) - Young Again Zero Carb Cat Food and Young Again 50/22 Cat Food (Update: 2/23/2012)

New low carb cat food. These dry foods contain 0% carbohydrates(!!) and less than 5% carbohydrates respectively. The 50/22 variety, however, uses potato starch in its formula (a high-glycemic index carbohydrate - very bad for your diabetic cat), while the Zero Carb version is potato-free.

You can find out more about these new dry foods in my blog post dated 2/23/2102: New to try... "Young Again" Low Carb Dry Cat Food or on their website: http://youngagainpetfood.com/

Dry Food For Your Cat, Yes or No?

Remember, according to many veterinarians, no currently marketed dry food is good for your cat, but if necessary, you might try something similar to what we do with our cat.

Since Raja is not diabetic, just chubby, we feed her 99% canned foods from the lists in this blog. We feed her twice a day, once in the morning before leaving for work and once in the evening when we return.

Because we don't want to worry about Raja if we can't get home to feed her in the evening, we leave a small amount of Innova Evo Turkey & Chicken Formula dry food in a bowl next to her water bowl.

When I say "small amount" I mean very little. We just barely cover the bottom of a standard small cat dish, which ends up being about 20 kernels of food. The dry food is there ONLY if she gets hungry because we come home later than usual, it's NOT her main diet.

In fact, usually when we return home we find only a few chunks of the dry food have been eaten. Of course, Raja l-o-v-e-s her wet food, so she only eats the dry when she's really really hungry.

Your cat may act differently, especially if he/she is used to a dry food only diet. So try an amount that works for your pet but only as an add-on to a predominantly wet food diet.

And please, don't use ANY dry food if your cat is diabetic! (With the possible exception of Young Again Zero Carb Cat Food, since it has no carbs and very high-quality ingredients. NOTE: Check with your vet to be sure this dry food will be OK for your diabetic cat.)

Where To Find Innova Evo, Wellness CORE and Young Again Dry Cat Foods:

Coming... I'm checking into some additional premium canned cat foods that are supposed to be based on high-quality meat and very low in carbohydrates.

I'll report my findings in my next blog entry.

3 comments:

  1. Pet Supplies Plus in Michigan has the Innova Evo products.

    Also, there is a website that has listings and ratings of dry cat food. Link is:
    http://petfoodratings.net/

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the heads-up, Tom. Pet Supplies Plus here in Illinois also carries Innova Evo.

    The website you mentioned was interesting too.

    ReplyDelete

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